Haiti flood toll tops 1000

Devastating floods in northern Haiti have claimed more than a 1000 lives and seriously wounded another 900.

No food, no drinking water and plenty of rotting bodies
No food, no drinking water and plenty of rotting bodies

And a UN official in the impoverished Caribbean nation said on Thursday another 1200 people are missing and possibly dead.

“Our official toll at this stage is 1013 people dead, 1200 missing and 918 wounded,” Toussaint Kongo-Doudou, the spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission that is playing a key role in relief efforts, said.

But as the flood waters recede, the number of bodies being discovered is increasing.

Officials have started burying corpses in mass graves as the sweltering heat causes human remains to rot quickly.

Most of the fatalities were in the northern city of Gonaives, where many streets remained under water on Wednesday, four days after Hurricane Jeanne caused deadly floods and mudslides.
Disaster area

With no electricity for refrigeration, morgues in the region have become next to useless. “People are starting to dump bodies in front of the UN compound,” Kongo-Doudou added.
The stench was almost unbearable in Gonaives, where carcasses of goats and cows littered the ground and open sewers spewed into the streets. 

A similar hurricane claimed over1200 lives in Haiti earlier in May

A similar hurricane claimed over
1200 lives in Haiti earlier in May

With huge numbers of people having lost everything and lacking access to food and clean water, tension was also rising rapidly as relief trickled into the area.
“There were attempts to attack relief-supplies containers,” said Francoise Gruloos, who heads the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) mission in Haiti.
Other officials said residents of the disaster-struck city were growing increasingly angry that emergency aid was so slow in arriving. 
Vehicles trapped

But with the airport completely flooded, no planes can land in the city. A first convoy of food-laden trucks arrived in Gonaives on Tuesday night, but two of the 12 vehicles sent in from Port-au-Prince toppled over in deep water just outside the city.
Several other vehicles were trapped in mud or floodwaters.
The local hospital was also ravaged by the floods, and witnesses said about 250 of the 300 patients were killed or were missing.

“We could only save the babies we carried to the roof,” said nurse Helelald Wilner.
Security concerns were heightened by the fact many policemen deserted their posts and hundreds of prisoners escaped in Gonaives during the floods.
Despite the deployment of nearly 3000 UN peacekeepers, crime has risen in Haiti since former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled the country in February under pressure from armed groups as well as the US and French governments.
The poorest nation in the western hemisphere, Haiti has been further impoverished by flooding that killed more than 1200 people in May, as well as civil strife that left dozens dead earlier in the year.

Source: AFP

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